Sir Jerry Mateparae is calling out racism in health research to help lift the lid on what he says is a pervasive issue, Laura Walters reports (Source: newsroom)
Former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae says racism in health research is pervasive and is hindering the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
Mateparae (Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Kahungunu) became chair of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge in June, and now he’s using his position to call out racist comments and beliefs held by some of the country’s senior health academics and clinicians.
He says he was “aghast” when confronted with examples of racist and false beliefs regarding Māori health earlier this year.
In September, the New Zealand Medical Journal (NZMJ) published an editorial from health researchers Matire Harwood, Vanessa Selak, Rod Jackson and Jamie-Lee Rahiri, where they discussed the “incorrect and racist” beliefs expressed by senior doctors reviewing the group’s research into differences in cardiovascular disease risk factors and outcomes by ethnicity.
Among the beliefs expressed by the anonymous reviewers were that Māori are immigrants and there are no indigenous people of New Zealand.
They also said Māori experienced development, not colonisation; that behavioural risk factors reflect individual choice and are not affected by social determinants; and that institutional racism is an opinion, not fact.
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